Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So Sunny and I went to buy our Christmas present to ourselves today so we could take advantage of the sales and not be in the ridiculous, face-trampling rugby scrum knows as 'Black Friday'.

In fact, as a quick aside, that's something I tweeted about yesterday. As an atheist, I may not totally 'get' what Christmas is about…but I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be about camping out all night, then literally stampeding into a store, trampling other people before literally getting involved in fist fights with strangers…just for the privilege of spending two hundred dollars on a ten dollar toy for a kid who'll be bored shitless with it within hours of unwrapping it.

Anyway, thanks to my awesomely generous parents and some hard saving, we went out and bought our new TV. If you've seen a Best Buy ad this week, you'll know the one we got. The non-name brand 'Dynex' 32" 720p HDTV.

Ok, as this was an off-brand TV and because it was 720p and not 1080p, I expected it to be better than what we had, but nothing spectacular.

I was wrong…the difference was totally spectacular.

First of all, I looked at a lot of TVs over the past few days and I can honestly say that the picture is just as good…and in many cases better… than the more expensive name-brand TVs of the same size and resolution. Put it this way, at Best Buy, they had the Dynex TV set up next to six other TV's of the same size and res…and the Dynex had a better picture than all but one of them... and the one that was better cost literally twice as much.

For me, though, the absolute best thing was hooking up the 360. In all seriousness, I expected there to be a noticeable difference, but the only way I can explain it is that there's almost as big of a difference in graphics quality as there is between a 360 and an original Xbox. It's amazing the amount of details you miss by playing on an SD set. While I was really impressed with the visuals of Assassin's Creed on the SD TV, the visuals on the HD TV literally took my breath away. It's like a whole new game on a whole new system.

Also, after doing a lot of comparison shopping, I can honestly say that for a 32" TV, 720p is more than enough. You really don't need 1080p unless your TV is 40" or bigger.

The only other piece of advice I'll give to anyone considering buying an HDTV for Christmas is to buy the absolute cheapest HDMI cables you can afford. From two weeks of research, I've learned that anyone who actually knows about this technology will tell you the same thing: There is absolutely no difference between a $20 HDMI cable and a $200 HDMI cable. The only time you'd even come close to needing a platinum-pinned, triple shielded, oxygen-purged HDMI cable is if you're planning on having your cable box a hundred feet or so from your TV.

Anyway, I was a little hesitant about buying a $300 TV when all comparable TVs were at least $400…but I can honestly say that if you're wanting a good 32" HDTV, you can't go far wrong with the Dynex from Best Buy. It's a good TV anyway, but for the price it's absolutely unbeatable.

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